Satoru Iwata - "There Are Some Reasons Behind" Region Locking
Posted by Thomas Whitehead
Will the importance of those reasons change in future?
One issue that's re-emerged recently is the region-locking applied to Wii U and 3DS. In light of Sony and Microsoft confirming that the PS4 and Xbox One will be region free, we recently questioned whether it's time for Nintendo to do the same.
As highlighted in that feature, some fan pressure-groups have sprung into action since E3 in an attempt to raise the heat on the company and encourage that the practice be dropped. As well as a number of Miiverse campaigns and other efforts, an online petition has also surpassed 10,000 signatures; whether these numbers are significant enough remains to be seen, but at the very least it's a topic about which some are particularly passionate.
To follow up on the subject, IGN has published an interview excerpt that was originally part of its transcript from an E3 discussion with Satoru Iwata; at the time Microsoft was yet to reverse its controversial DRM approach on the Xbox One, so the comments are slightly out of perspective. Even so, Iwata's explanation is clearly important, as it's a policy ultimately in his hands.
From some people’s perspective, it might seem like a kind of restriction. However, we hope people can appreciate the fact that we’re selling our products worldwide. There are many different regions around the world, and each region has its own cultural acceptance and legal restrictions, as well as different age ratings. There are always things that we’re required to do in each different region, which may go counter to the idea that players around the world want the freedom to play whatever they want.
...I hope that game fans can understand that the industry isn’t doing this solely out of business ego. There are some reasons behind it.
At that point Sony's region-free policy would have been common knowledge, but not Microsoft's. Nintendo now remains the only major manufacturer region-locking its consoles, which was re-introduced with the DSi.
Are you happy for Nintendo to continue region-specific systems to accommodate cultures and legal restrictions without any issues, or do you want it to follow the policies confirmed by Sony and Microsoft? Sound off in the comments below.